LaLiga clubs host some of the best footballers from around the world – and players from Africa are no exception. In addition to their stellar performances in Spain, many players from Africa frequently appear in their countries’ national squads with eye catching performances.
As we await the beginning of the 2020/2021 LaLiga season, we take a moment to celebrate the international football careers of three African legends in the Spanish league: Yaya Toure, Samuel Eto’o and Geremi. Here are some of their career highlights and stand-out moments on the field.
Hailing from Ivory Coast is 37-year-old Yaya Toure, once considered one of the greatest African players of all time.
The midfielder enjoyed a highly successful career in Spain where he played for LaLiga team FC Barcelona from his debut year 2007 until 2010 with his 74 appearances yielding 4 goals. He followed his time at FC Barcelona up with several winning seasons in the Premier League.
As a member of the Ivory Coast national team, the talented Toure appeared in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He scored a total of 19 goals for his home country from 101 appearances in an 11-year streak from 2004 to 2015 and represented them in six AFCONs even captaining their victory in 2015.
Before that Ivory Coast’s only other Africa Cup of Nations success was in 1992, when they beat Ghana on penalties in the final.
This spectacular striker, now retired, has been one of the biggest names in African football over the past few decades.
Samuel Eto’o made his LaLiga Santander debut with Real Madrid at just 16 years old, and the eyes of football fans have been on him ever since. In 1999 he joined the RCD Mallorca squad (on loan from RCD Espanyol) and racked up 54 goals from 133 appearances over the next five seasons.
The talented striker played for FC Barcelona from 2004 to 2009, scoring a further 108 goals from 144 appearances.
Eto’o enjoyed a successful career as an international footballer, with 56 of Cameroon’s goals having been launched from his boot. His accolades include African Player of the Year in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2010, a gold medal winner at the 2000 Summer Olympics and the all-time leading scorer in AFCON to date, with 18 goals. His goals contributed to his country’s 2000 and 2002 AFCON titles.
In 2010 he helped Cameroon secure its place at the FIFA World Cup with victories against Gabon and Morocco in the qualifiers.
Geremi Sorele Njitap Fotso (aka Geremi)
Geremi Sorele Njitap Fotso celebrated his 41st birthday recently, and this Cameroonian powerhouse has plenty to toast both on and off the field.
Known equally well for his strong, aggressive tactics as well as his mononym, Geremi is one of the few players in world football who is able to switch easily between two positions.
Whether he was playing right-back or midfielder, this energetic player was instrumental in keeping his respective teams together and setting them up to score. His skills were prominently on display during his time with current LaLiga champions Real Madrid as they charged to victory at the UEFA Champions League.
Geremi has scored a total of 13 goals for his home country, Cameroon, in international events and a member of the winning squads at AFCON 2000 and 2002. Along with his compatriot Samuel Eto’o he received a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.